Construction of Zimbabwe’s first export certified rabbit abattoir is complete, thrusting rabbit meat firmly on to the country’s white meat sub-sector, which was until recently, mainly a preserve of pork, chicken and fish.
The abattoir, which is one of the biggest rabbit meat processing facilities in the whole of Africa, has an installed capacity of between 2,5 tonnes and 3,5 tonnes of rabbit meat per day shift.
It is wholly owned by Raymeg Consultants Private Limited, a corporate member of the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA).
Raymeg is a diversified group with interests in agriculture, real estate, energy, private security, leisure and resorts, fishery and aquatic sectors as well as strategic communication and media management.
Executive director, Mrs. Paidamoyo Nyamakanga, said in an interview the abattoir, situated on a 2,5-acre plot in Waterfalls, Harare, had generated much interest in the domestic and export rabbit market.
“Since the construction of the abattoir was completed at the beginning of July, we received a flood of inquiries from potential local and external customers. The response from rabbit farmers has also been humbling.
“During our first week of operation, we bought nearly 1 000 live rabbits, mainly from Harare and its environs.
“In readiness for the opening of the abattoir we signed trade agreements with some of Zimbabwe’s largest supermarket chains, namely Pick ‘n Pay and TM Supermarkets, Spar Zimbabwe, and Choppies. Rabbit meat is currently available in these outlets.
“While we are encouraged by the response from the local market, we feel that the price of rabbit meat is still much higher than that of other competing white meats such as chicken, beef, and fish.
“For us to effectively compete on the white meat sub-sector and entrench rabbit meat on the local market, we need to revisit the prices of rabbits and rabbit meat, lest the rabbit sector remains a backyard operation,” said Mrs. Nyamakanga.
Depending on the scale of production in Zimbabwe, Raymeg Holdings would consider opening smaller abattoirs in other major centres in Zimbabwe, she said.
The Raymeg boss said plans were afoot to open a multi-million-dollar retail outlet in Harare, which will serve as a hub for the supply of rabbit meat and rabbit products in the country.
A veterinary shop is also in the pipeline.